Gladiator King sprints to glory at Meydan
The Meydan Challenge was won in impressive style by 2019 DWC Carnival winner Major Partnership
Thursday's first meeting of Meydan Racecourse's eagerly awaited 2020 Dubai World Cup Carnival was highlighted by the Group 3 $200,000 Dubawi Stakes.
Over 1200m on the dirt track, the prep for the $2.5 million Dubai Golden Shaheen was won in gritty fashion by G3 Hutcheson Stakes-winning American import Gladiator King.
Gladiator King gave trainer Satish Seemar an unprecedented sixth win in the race, which was inaugurated in 2011.
Making his local debut, the 4-year-old Curlin colt chased the early pace under Mickael Barzalona before powering to the front about 250m from home and then finishing his race off in good style, according to a press release.
"We knew the race wasn't going to be easy, but he was sharp and looked great," Barzalona said.
Seemar added: "You know, when you first get a horse, there's always a little worry and a little doubt, but this horse was training so well and really coming around."
Two $175,000 Listed races on turf sandwiched the Dubawi, the 1400m Meydan Challenge and 2410m Dubai Racing Club Classic.
The Meydan Challenge was won in impressive style by 2019 DWC Carnival winner Major Partnership, carrying the Godolphin blue with jockey Pat Cosgrave for Saeed bin Suroor.
Riding the rail through the lane after patiently waiting for room, the grey Irish-bred son of Iffraaj pushed clear to win by 1½ lengths over Zainhom, with G1 winner Suedois running admirably in third under top weight.
"That was a great ride from Pat and we are obviously very happy. This horse has plenty of speed, so we thought this 1400m was ideal and so it worked out," Bin Suroor said.
Capping the evening was the DRC Classic, which was won in impressive late-running style by David Simcock-trained Universal Order by 1¼ lengths. Finishing a game second was favoured William Haggas pupil Pablo Escobarr, while well-fancied multiple DWC Carnival winner Mountain Hunter could only manage fifth. Richard Mullen was up on the winner.
The 1400m UAE 1000 Guineas Trial began the evening and was an official launching point for classic-minded fillies. Godolphin's Final Song struck early for Godolphin and Bin Suroor, settling behind the pace before slicing toward the inside and splitting well-regarded front-running pair of Down on Da Bayou and Rio Angie, who held on for second and third. Christophe Soumillon was in the irons, winning by 1¾ lengths in a smart time of 1:24.44.
The Emirates NBD Personal Banking, a 1000m turf handicap, was won impressively by Almanaara, trained by Doug Watson.
Watson was soon celebrating a double, combining with Brett Doyle to land the following Emirates NBD Priority Banking, a1900m dirt handicap, with Grand Argentier. The Seemar-trained duo of Above Normal and Saltarin Dubai completed the top three.
The second night of the Dubai World Cup Carnival will take place on Thursday, Jan. 9, while the next night of Racing at Meydan is this Saturday, Jan. 4.
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